Two of the most dramatic mountain views in South Carolina are located in northern Greenville County's Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, an 11,000-acre forest that includes Jones Gap, Caesars Head and Table Rock state parks.
Offering panoramas that appear to be never-ending, both of the viewpoints – one from atop Caesars Head, the other from a wall-less chapel – are easily accessible via U.S. Highway 276.
Caesars Head Overlook:
Perched on a granite outcropping atop the Blue Ridge Escarpment, the wheelchair-accessible overlook at Caesars Head State Park offers spectacular mountain views that extend into North Carolina and Georgia.
At an elevation of 3,266 feet, visitors to the viewing area are afforded an uninterrupted look at the rise of the Appalachian Mountains.
The overlook is located about 100 yards from the parking area. A short walk down a stairway leads to a second viewing area.
Getting there: Caesars Head State Park is located on U.S. Highway 276, about three miles from the North Carolina border.
On the Web: Caesars Head State Park
Symmes Chapel (Credit: Rich Nicoloff/JourneyFineArt.com)
Pretty Place (Symmes Chapel, YMCA Camp Greenville):
Symmes Chapel, better known as “Pretty Place” because of its sensational views, overlooks the Blue Ridge Escarpment and Jones Gap valley, the bottom of which is some 2000 feet below. With an eastward facing view, it's a spectacular spot to watch a sunrise.
The open-air chapel, open to the public when not in use for private functions or camp events, is one of the many buildings that make up YMCA Camp Greenville, a 1600-acre summer camp and conference center that began operation in 1912. The current chapel was constructed in 1941 and is a popular place for weddings.
Getting there: Travel north on U.S. Highway 276 toward the North Carolina border. Right before the state line, turn right on Solomon Jones Road (S-23-15). Follow the signs to Camp Greenville and the chapel.
On the Web: YMCA Camp Greenville
(NOTE: It is advised to call ahead and check the schedule before planning a visit to Pretty Place.)